Before Paul’s Transformation
I was struggling with fast food, laziness, no energy to do or achieve anything.
I was struggling with fast food, laziness, no energy to do or achieve anything.
So for about 3 years I trained and ate decent and definitely improved my physique. It wasn’t really until January 2015 I wanted to do even more.
New year’s resolution are made by everyone – even those who don’t particularly believe you need to wait until January 1st to change your life for the better! The hard part is sticking to them. Why? Because it usually means giving up on something or having to do something for something that will benefit us long term.
Habits are hard to form, but this is usually because we focus on the thing we don’t want to do and don’t see the ‘overnight’ success that we really crave. So how can we, very easily, start getting excited about the day to day goals?
The reason that we, as a nation, tend to ‘drop off’ our New Year Resolutions around the 12th of January is because we still feel uncomfortable, the habit hasn’t formed yet (they say it takes 31 days of sticking to a new habit to form) and our goal is SO far away.
You can easily rectify this mind set by reverse engineering where you want to be a year from now, then a month from now, then a week from now.
Writing out our year, month and week goals – one after another – allows us to easily visualise the importance of this week in the bigger picture of what we really want.
Those initial uncomfortable times will become a little more bearable, your goals will become much more attainable, and the satisfaction of achievement and reward will be much more frequent – which forms habits and removes the uncomfortable feeling of change!
Let’s say your New Year Resolution is to lose 2 stone of body fat in 2016.
Some might say that goal is ‘too big’ and you need shorter, more attainable goals. In reality, we NEED this goal to fuel our short-term goals. If we’re going to change, we want phenomenal results, right?
So we structure our goals – which we write out every day by hand – like this:
Your goal is no longer to lose 2 stone, it’s to lose half a pound. Pretty easy, right? So what’s the final cherry on top? Executing your plan.
The final tip is to write down your action points under the header of your goal, so you now visualise why you’re doing it.
Do you write out a Workout plan to take to the gym? You should. But even more so, try hand writing at the top “Do this and smash my half a pound week goal!”, followed by your work out plan.
Personally, I do this for everything and it lights a fire of inspiration in my belly to not only do what I have to do but most importantly, enjoy the process. I can literally FEEL myself getting closer to my goals whilst putting in the hard work required.
Want some inspiration to stick to your New Year’s Resolution? Keep an eye out on our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest) for 31 days of transformations in January from our Transformation of the Year 2015 competition!
We have some incredible stories of how people completely changed their appearance, their happiness and their drive for life through smashing their goals in 2015! Next up, is you!
PS… why not hold yourself accountable on your new journey by purchasing your SFN EXPO Early Bird Ticket now? The small investment will help keep you on track as you are even more invested in your goal for self-improvement!
Are you thinking about exhibiting at SFN EXPO 2016? We wanted to share with you some testimonials from 2015 exhibitors. Here is what Jonny Curley from Anytime Leisure and Anna Sward from Protein Pow had to say:
SFN EXPO has been a revelation to the Scottish Fitness Industry and to the UK fitness industry in a lot of ways. This is a expo that really focusses on the customer and provides so much knowledge and experience for the verywide ranging customers from the complete beginner to the expert trainers.
You have crossfit games, strongman competitions, nutrition workshops, industry experts guiding the personal trainers on how to run a successful business, bodybuilders, strength and conditioning seminars and many more.
If you are coming to start the journey of losing weight or an expert in your field this is a weekend you will gain so much from.
Anytime Leisure is a specialist in fitting out all sizes of gyms UK wide from home gyms to large specialist gyms. We are based in Scotland and are delighted to see a show like this in Glasgow. Anytime Leisure will be working with the team at SFN EXPO to enhance the shows appeal and awareness for an even more successful show next year.
Thank you for all your support over the last two years and best of luck for next year – Jonny Curley, Director
As a business within the health and food sector, Protein Pow is at the forefront of opening new markets and experiences to consumers that are highly interested in health and fitness yet may feel intimidated by the way in which the industry has in many cases presented itself.
SFN EXPO 2015 provided an education driven, health focused, and family-friendly event for us to continue building our brand. Its audience was all inclusive, ranging from busy parents wanting to gain information on how to provide healthier alternatives to their families, to athletes wanting to enhance their fitness and nutrition. It was an event geared towards everyone looking to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.
SFN EXPO 2015 made health and fitness education accessible, mainstream, fun, and inspiring, in a way that no other health and fitness expo has managed to do in the UK.
Protein Pow is looking forward to continuing our relationship with SFN EXPO and helping to expand the expo further through unique workshops, premium product offerings and a focus on creating a rewarding experience for all that are interested in better health and delicious nutrition-packed food!” – Anna Sward, Founder of Protein Pow
If you have any questions on exhibiting at SFN EXPO 2016, email email@example.com
The debate on the use of ice baths, or cold-water immersion (CWI), rages on with many pundits claiming it is good and others claiming it is not.
The answer depends on the stage of training the athlete is at and the main objective of that training block.
If you are in the pre-competition phase of training and the main objective is to build power then there is research indicating that CWI (and other micro-strategies for minimising training responses, such as anti-oxidant supplementation) during this phase may limit the adaptation effect i.e. your muscles will adapt to the increased workload faster if the body is allowed to contend with the inflammation and micro-tears naturally without the intervention of CWI.
However, if you are tapering the workload toward an upcoming competitive event or if you are in the competitive part of the season then the main focus shifts to recovery and minimising fatigue rather than power building and in these circumstances research indicates CWI will be beneficial.
The key word here is fatigue.
Fatigue is the main precursor of injury and is also a major performance inhibitor. Consequently, the fitness coach’s objective is to maximise fitness and minimise fatigue in order to maximise performance and lower the risk of injury.
And the main strategies for combating fatigue: Good Sleep, Good Diet, Hydration and Cold Water Immersion [per Gregory Dupont, FIFA Sports Injury Summit, Wembley Stadium, April 2013].
The argument is further complicated in team sports where skill, tactics and pre-planned moves need to be coached on the training pitch. In these sports the coach will want the players to be mentally alert and physically prepared to benefit fully from the coaching session, not hobbling around only partially recovered from the previous day’s training. In this instance there may be a conflict of interest where the fitness coach is trying to maximise adaptation while the team coach wants the players recovered sufficiently to benefit fully from the training session, therefore, CWI may be strategically used to fit the on-going training session plans rather than eliminated to cater for both objectives.
So is CWI good or bad?
The answer depends on the part of the season and the main objective of the current training regime. In the competitive phase of the season CWI will help minimise fatigue and aid recovery, thereby improving performance and lowering the risk of injury. In the pre-season, or power-building phase, of training CWI may adversely affect the adaptive response.
So, as with most tools in the athlete preparation toolbox, it is how the coach uses CWI to best effect, rather than whether it is appropriate to use it or not!
Good luck in your training!
© Colin Edgar, Managing Director, CET CryoSpas, October 2015
My own clients have taught me a lot. I’ve been coaching for 10 years; first off as a football coach for my football team’s youth teams and now as what most would refer to as a ‘Personal Trainer’.
I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the UK learning from some of the most influential figures in fitness education, but reckon that the lessons I’ve learned over the years from my own clients have been more valuable.
Rather than boasting about who I’ve spent time with and what they’ve taught me, here’s a list of 7 things I’ve learned from my own clients.
You know squats and deadlifts are the best exercises for building muscle and strength. You know that adding muscle to a human’s frame increases their metabolism. You want everyone to squat and deadlift.
Except, it’s not cool.
Some people have got very little chance of ever deadlifting from the floor with a straight bar or back squatting with a straight bar.
I learned early on that you have to be able to progress and regress exercises based on people’s strength and fitness levels and their joint mobility.
Sure, everyone can do a squat variation.
But one person may be doing a heels elevated kettlebell goblet squat to a box, whilst the next may be back squatting 1.5x bodyweight.
Those are two very different programs, for essentially the same movement.
Training athletes is generally as simple as:
“This is what you’re doing today…
Particularly once you’ve laid the foundations of their strength levels and coached them effective technique. I find myself to be merely a time-keeper/rep-counter.
With the ‘general population’, training has to be a little more personal.
I’d say that stress relief is one of the primary objectives, if not thee primary objective, that the majority of people desire to obtain through exercise/training.
Oftentimes this means ranting about their day, how much they hate their boss or how they just can’t wait for the school holidays to finish so that they can ‘get rid of the kids’ and get back into their routine.
Being a good listening is probably the most important part of any trainer’s arsenal.
Be careful when you interrupt someone mid-rant to tell them to get a set done. They may not be coming to see you to do sets, they may simply want an outlet for their stress.
Most people are terrified of gyms.
They get the fear even thinking about going to one. So when they do eventually show up and stand next to their trainer (who may exacerbate their ‘fear’ by being devilishly handsome and athletic…sorry ‘bout that) the last thing they want to do is feel even worse.
I learned not to start my clients off with the hardest progression of an exercise and, instead, attempted to ‘build them up’ by slowly progressing the difficulty.
For example, if I’ve programmed a trap bar deadlift as the first movement in a workout, I’ll include hip hinge movements in the warm up; i.e. glute bridges and good mornings.
Once my client is warm and mobile, I’ll have them complete a few sets of rack pulls to further drill the movement pattern into them before they start their first working set.
From there I’ll have them trap bar deadlift a weight I know they’re going to be more than comfortable with and slowly creep the weight up, whilst celebrating how easy they’re making it look.
Once we get to their ‘working weight’, their form should be good, their confidence should be high and they should perform well.
Taking someone from a treadmill into their first working set is a disaster that’ll most likely demotivate your client as moving backwards along the continuum of ‘hard’ to ‘easy’ is a lot more demoralising than moving forward from ‘easy’ to ‘hard’.
Structure is great, and an example food day can be an excellent tool.
But for the majority of people I’ve coached over the years all a diet plan does is further the ‘on it/off it’ mindset.
If they’re ‘on’ the plan, things are good. They’re feeling positive and they’re working towards their goals. As soon as they have something that’s not on the plan, they feel like they’ve failed. They’re off the wagon and they’ll more-often-than-not binge.
Educating people clients about nutrition, giving them a little bit of structure and empowering them to clean up their habits is a lot more powerful than simply placing a spreadsheet with: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner on it.
I started out as an intern with the Scottish Institute of Sport.
I’d follow the coaches around like a bad smell, hang around the athletes and essentially just help out wherever and whenever I could.
I learned a lot about effective technique and programming back then and I thought that’s what’d set me apart when I ventured into the world of Personal Training.
How wrong I was.
I’d program deloads, try to work out their program based on percentages of their perceived max lifts and generally just got too damn technical for my own good.
Once I started training the general public, I realised that a far looser approach to programming is superior.
Have a plan, but make it flexible.
What if your 3x per week client cancels a session and can’t re-schedule it?
What happens when someone ends up sitting in a meeting all day and comes in with screaming tight hip-flexors/lower back and you’ve got a 1RM back squat in store for them.
It’s just not going to happen.
There’s many geeky ways to periodise a program, but with the general population KISS is the most effective method…keep it simple, stupid.
“I want you to hit 10 reps.”
*Client fails at 8 and is in a bad mood for the rest of the session*
This happens wayyyyyyy more than you’d expect. Clients want to achieve their goals, whether that’s weight loss, strength gain or simply completing the number of reps you prescribed for them within a set.
I’ve found that using rep-ranges are far more effective than giving an exact number of reps.
“I want you to get between 8 and 10 reps. Eight’s your minimum and anything after that is a bonus.”
This leads to far happier clients who feel like they’ve achieved the ‘full set’ once they get to 8 reps. If they get 10 reps, they feel like they’ve done extra.
Far more effective for the moral of the client and for the general mood during the session.
When I first started, I thought I had to be shredded. I thought I was only allowed to eat out of tupperware and was doomed to a life of teetotalism.
I’d panic when I was at a bar drinking beer “in case anyone saw me”. I’d sneak cookies into my shopping trolly “in case I bumped into a client” and I generally just tried to life the life of a squeaky clean superhero trainer.
However, I actually found I developed stronger bonds with my clients when the chinks in my armour finally began to become apparent and I started opening up about how normal I actually am.
Nowadays I’m very open about how I eat cake most days, enjoy a few beers at the weekend and train 2-4 times per week.
Strangely, I get a ridiculously higher number of enquiries about my services nowadays than I did when I was the super-ripped athlete who only ate chicken and broccoli.
Keep up to date with Ross Stewart over on his SFN: Improve FREE Facebook Group!
Diabetic muscle building and improving fitness when diabetic is unfortunately tough. I hate to say it, but when it comes to building a healthy, lean, strong body, diabetics are at a marked disadvantage. The condition is associated with a host of long and short-term implications if left uncontrolled. Generally speaking, these include:
As you can see none of these complications will benefit training performance or health for that matter. Diabetes can be extremely hard to control from the outset especially when one lacks the necessary knowledge of how the body works and also how to manipulate medication in accordance to the ever-changing dynamics of day-to-day life, stress, appetite and environment. In all my 10 years of being a Type 1 Diabetic I’ve come to terms with understanding my condition and respecting that I will never have perfect control. However, there are a number of key guidelines I want to share that have allowed me to stay major complication free and get the most out of my diabetic muscle building and fat loss efforts! I touch on these in greater detail in my upcoming book The Diabetic Blueprint – the first fully comprehensive diabetic body composition and performance resource of its kind!
First things first You’re diabetic… You have two choices, Come to terms with the condition, embrace it, understand it and do everything you can to control it. Or, Deny the truth, get on with your life and hope for the best. The problem is many diabetics simply don’t care or know enough to change. Your very existence is under threat. It doesn’t matter how much your worth, how popular or good looking you are without your health you’re good to nobody including yourself! Break The Trance! Do something about it – you have control as a Type 1 or Type 2.
This is especially true for those diabetics who have been newly diagnosed. If you aren’t assessing your control you’re just guessing. Tracking allows you to assess your body’s reaction to certain foods, doses of medication and a host of other factors like stress and physical activity. Consistent measuring allows you to identify problems and work towards better long-term control, meaning fewer complications and better quality of life. Track the following
Exercise has always been seen as a control measure for Type 1 and 2 diabetics. However, it’s important to realize different types of exercise have different effects upon the body. In particular, high intensity exercise like weight training or high intensity interval training can actually increase blood sugar levels instead of decrease them, and in turn promote diabetic complications if left uncontrolled. The rise in blood sugar is simply down to the stress of the activity and subsequent release of stress hormones like adrenaline which release glucose from the body’s internal glycogen stores like that found in the liver. Take home – measure and assess – then you can ascertain the appropriate response to different types of exercise.
When blood sugar levels drop outside of healthy range (hypoglycemia) a decline in mental functioning and physical performance is certain. This is of no use to the hard training individual looking to get the most out of each training session. Low blood sugar need to be treated in order to prevent further complications, such as falling unconscious, which of course could increase one’s potential to further suffer a severe/life threatening injury depending on the circumstance (car crash, fall etc.) Treatment requires the consumption of extra calories, which of course is highly dependent on the severity of the hypoglycemic episode. However, most diabetics will tell you, a hypo is often accompanied by a great deal of hunger which can promote mindless eating and excessive calorific binging especially if low quality food options are chosen. As a result this can have a significantly negative impact on one’s fat loss attempts especially if they are to reoccur regularly. Hypo’s will come and go, but learn to catch them early. This is another reason why you must measure, as it will give you a clearer means of calculating your individual medication dose and/or appropriate food portion size in relation to the set activity your about to pursue.
The physiological response to chronic high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is lengthy and well beyond the scope of this short article. To cut a long story short when blood sugar levels are persistently high (due to a lack of insulin) the body cannot utilize nutrients (fuel) properly. Amino acids, carbs and fats fail to make it into cells and perform their necessary roles. The end result is a massive upset in the body’s internal chemistry which proves highly detrimental to health and catabolic to muscle & fat tissue. Diabetic muscle building is obviously much harder when in a state of catabolism. In layman’s terms recovery and your hard earned muscle goes out the window. Don’t think running yourself high is a healthy way to lose fat – far from it! Strive for control and balance with your blood sugar levels.
Take Home Message On Diabetic Muscle & Diabetic Fitness
Whether your type 1 or type 2, do your very best to achieve better diabetic control through lifestyle, diet, exercise and the appropriate medication. Respect the condition, chase perfect control by learning more about the condition, tactfully measuring your food intake/medication and physical activity levels Know that with better control come fewer complications, better health, fat loss, muscle growth and performance.
About The Author
Renowned competitive body builder and Sports Nutritionist Phil Graham (BSc, CSSN) has established himself as one of UK’s leading fitness educators and coaches. Phil is also in the process of writing the first ever diabetic body composition and performance resource for diabetics – The Diabetic Blueprint will be published in January 2016 www.phil-graham.com
Choon Tan is the UK’s smallest bodybuilder and has an incredibly inspiring life story to tell. From being a confused kid about his genetic condition to using bodybuilding as a tool to conquer all of his inner worries and become successful in his physique, his studies and his entrepreneurship; Choon is an epic role model for anyone who has ever felt insecure about they way they look or have looked.
Finding out that I had a genetic defect and that I would not be the same as everyone else confused me as a child. I didn’t the feeling that I wasn’t as good or the same as everyone else.
I got bullied and tormented because of it which turned me into somewhat of a bully myself. It was undoubtedly the worst several years of my life, but it is what led me to an incredible eye-opening journey.
Through my late teens severe back pains began to occur. Everything started to get to me and I just wanted it all to end.
I remember having this feeling every day and it was unbearable. I didn’t want to be smaller and feel more vulnerable than everyone else.
This is when I found bodybuilding and learned how I could improve my condition and physique, which ended up changing my life completely. I learned how to change every aspect of my life.
The reason for starting bodybuilding was because I wanted to improve and become the best possible version of myself.
I was fed up of feeling skinny, feeling like I could be better and decided to do something about it.
Conveniently, it has greatly helped me rehabilitate and improve my condition and battle through a stage of depression, which was the lowest point of my life.
Growing up wishing that you could be different and not being comfortable in your own skin can devastate you psychologically.
The thought of getting on stage terrified me, but somehow I plucked up the courage and blocked out the fear. From this I now compete in Men’s Physique for the UKBFF Federation and will be guest posing at the British Finals.
My profile will also be featured in Flex Magazine and I am listed as a sponsored athlete. I am an ambassador for Protein Discount Card, and sponsored by EFN.
In the future, I am looking to start a YouTube Channel and do events for Hen, Stag and Birthday parties; I have motivational posts on my instagram “@imchoontan”.
Coming this far physically and psychologically has taught me that almost anything is accomplishable and I would never want anyone to feel how I once felt.
My main ambition now is to get as much exposure as possible and inspire people to believe in themselves and that they too can change their lives, no matter what situation you may be in.
Choon Tan – What would you say to someone who is insecure about the way they look?
I’d say that you can change the way you feel by taking one small step at a time by improving yourself, don’t stress too much and enjoy the process 🙂
Check out Choon Tan’s Inspirational Instagram page now!
Are you making your usual plans for expos in 2016? “Do what you’ve always done and get what you’ve always got” comes to mind! Have you thought about making any changes in 2016? Have you heard about SFN EXPO but you are not sure why it’s different?
Exhibiting at SFN EXPO 2016 will change your perception of health and fitness expos. We put a major focus into attracting people who want to engage with and buy from our exhibitors.
Other huge brands including USN, Powerhouse Fitness, Linwoods, Protein Pow are already confirmed for what is being touted as the most ENGAGING fitness exhibition in the UK, The SFN EXPO 2016.
If you are interested in exhibiting at SFN EXPO 2016, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can work together now, and take advantage of over 9 months of FREE marketing bolt-ons.
Every stand comes with a free marketing bolt-on to support YOUR goals throughout the whole year.
We have over 22,000 social media followers, well over 10,000 email database, well over 10,000 website visitors per month and 161 of top influencers in health and fitness in the UK as our brand ambassadors for 2016, spread evenly across: North of Scotland, South of Scotland, North of England, South of England, Wales and Ireland.
Do you want your message heard? We hear you. And we are the gateway to results before the exhibition has even begun.
Contact email@example.com to discuss how we can work together now, and take advantage of over 9 months of FREE marketing bolt-ons, getting results before the show has even begun.
An incredibly rich and satisfying lasagne recipe which has only 416 calories a slice? Yes please. Trust me, you will not miss the pasta.
Piedmontese beef, as the name suggests, originates in the Piedmont region of Italy, where the resilient cattle graze in the harsh mountainous environment. Because of this, they produce beef which is incredibly lean. 100g of Piedmontese Steak Mince contains only 1.7g of fat, which is the same amount as chicken breasts.
You may think that, as it has so little fat, Piedmontese mince would be dry but this is not the case: the beef has a naturally high moisture level, which means that you can make a hearty Bolognese sauce in only 20 minutes.
The best thing about using Piedmontese beef to make a low carb lasagne? Because it is so lean, you can use loads of cheese – this recipe has three different kinds – and still keep down the calories and fat.
Piedmontese Bolognese sauce (get the recipe here: Piedmontese Bolognese sauce recipe)
1 large courgette (or 2 small)
250g tub of ricotta cheese
1 large egg
25g Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil (for cooking)
½ of a 125g mozzarella ball, sliced
416 calories | 36g protein |16g fat | 24g carbs
Thank you to the team at The Lean Butcher for creating this amazingly tasty, healthy recipe! Comment below if you want more recipes like this to follow!